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How to Fix Uneven Skin Tone
Essential Takeaways
If you want to fix uneven skin tone and have smooth, glowing skin that has a mostly even pigment, sunscreen and moisturizer are your best friends. Other products can help to reverse and prevent future damage, as can lifestyle changes like drinking enough water, getting quality sleep, and feeding yourself a mix of foods.

How to Fix Uneven Skin Tone

When figuring out how to fix uneven skin tone, it might be useful to answer what IS uneven skin tone? An even skin tone is smooth, with few bumps or flaking. It’s bright and glowing—think fresh-faced and dewy, not dull. And, an even skin tone has a mostly even pigment, without redness, blotchiness, or dark spots, and with few blemishes.


What is Uneven Skin Tone?

A quick way to think about uneven skin tone is to think color + texture = tone.

So, when we talk about color when it comes to skin tone, we’re mostly talking about hyperpigmentation (too much of a good thing), hypopigmentation (not enough), and melasma (too too much of that magical melanin).

What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is the fancy word for dark spots and redness. It refers to uneven skin darkening, including the kind that blemishes in the process of healing often leave behind until the new skin fully regenerates. Hyperpigmentation can affect anyone, especially those with acne-prone skin. Though as with all things skin, there are many reasons this happens, the main culprit is often sun exposure (or overexposure, yikes!) and injuries to the skin, like from a healing pimple. Some hyperpigmentation is caused by larger dermatological issues, like rosacea, psoriasis, and some skin cancers, but today we’ll focus on the most typical and likely culprits.

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What is hypopigmentation?

Hypopigmentation is basically the opposite of hyperpigmentation. Hypopigmentation is the term for when areas of the skin are lighter than usual. Some people have a disease called vitiligo that causes the skin to lose its color in large patches; folks with darker skin tones and more melanin are more prone to this than people with lighter skin and less melanin.

For our purposes, we’re covering the kind of hypopigmentation that occurs in smaller quantities and is caused by the same usual suspects, like blemishes or other skin injuries as well as the sun.

What is melasma?

Though it does sound like a cool silent disco party, melasma is the word for gray and/or brown patches of skin that occur in slightly larger areas than hyperpigmentation. So if hyperpigmentation is a dark spot, a melasma is often a stripe of darker skin on the upper lip or a patch on the cheeks or chin. Melasmas are caused by hormones, including pregnancy, birth control, menopause, and hormone replacement therapy; they also more commonly occur in people with uteruses and those taking estrogen.

Now that we’re all nowhere near being doctors, the main takeaway here is that uneven skin tone related to color can be caused by different dermatological concerns, but these are the main three that occur most often.

What about texture?

But to answer “What is uneven skin tone?” we also have to add the other piece of the equation: texture. Uneven skin tone textures are often rough or bumpy, characterized by dry patches or leathery-feeling sections. Texture issues can also be caused by that glowing orb in the sky, but also a litany of other culprits, including products, age, overall skin type (like oily, dry, sensitive), hormones, and even where you live.

Woman applying moisturizer to face after bathing

What Causes Uneven Skin Tone?

As with most things skin, there are some usual suspects:

  • Sun damage
  • Pollution
  • Other environmental factors, like dry climate or heat and pore-clogging humidity
  • Hormones
  • Natural inflammatory responses and healing (think scratches, acne as it goes away, healing mosquito bites, etc.)
  • Genetics, which you cannot do a darn thing about, you beautiful land mermaid
  • Using harsher products or products not designed for your skin type and/or needs
  • Age (rude)
  • Allergies (both seasonal and topical, like makeup allergies)

There are also a few more serious skin conditions, like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, vitiligo, and some skin cancers that can cause uneven skin tone. That said, most of the time for most people, it’s the typical causes in the list above.

The Best Products that Fix and Prevent Uneven Skin Tone 

People with uneven skin tone may want to even out dark spots. Perhaps you’re a skincare beginner. Or maybe you just want to take better care of your skin. Whatever your motivation, one of the solutions is finding products that fix and prevent uneven skin tone.


A babe’s best friend, sunscreen is the first and biggest thing you can do to help improve your skin overall, including skin tone. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a minimum SPF of 30 on your face, with many manufacturers making SPF 40 their standard go-to.

Vitamin C

The one you’re most likely to hear about the most is vitamin C, though it’s not the only topical vitamin that’s great for your skin tone. Vitamin C is the gold standard, however, and it’s not just because it’s found in citrus. Vitamin C serums contain antioxidants and block free radicals. Plus, vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory ingredient that not only improves hyperpigmentation but also reduces fine lines and wrinkles with consistent use.

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Another ingredient that’s all the rage these days—and with good reason!—is niacinamide, also called nicotinamide or vitamin B3. This baby is a powerful tool in barrier repair, which all the K Beauty aficionados and teens will tell you is giving in more ways than one. Because niacinamide boosts collagen production, it helps plump up the skin and improve both texture and the ability to retain moisture long-term.


Exfoliants can refer to both physical exfoliants, which contain an abrasive (like coffee grounds or sugar), and chemical exfoliants like glycolic alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peels or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). While the word “chemical” is in there, these compounds aren’t necessarily lab-derived but are often lab-extracted. They can also be made as vegan, cruelty-free, and as clean beauty products. Aside from AHA and BHA exfoliants, other naturally occurring acids that provide exfoliation include kojic acid, which comes from mushrooms, and licorice root extract.

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Anti-Aging Products

The best-known anti-aging product is probably retinol, which has been used for decades to improve skin texture and reduce acne, dark spots, and other skin woes. But lately, others have joined the race, like vitamin A and bakuchiol (which for what it’s worth, bakuchiol is plant-derived). Sunscreen and moisturizing (see below) are especially essential if using one of these powerful tools, which can both dry and also make the skin more photosensitive (AKA prone to burning and other sun damage).


It is literally in the name, but toner isn’t a magic cure-all for the skin. Toners are astringents that contract the skin while also cleansing it of dirt and other particles. Not all toners are created equal and not all toners are created for all skin types. For example, witch hazel is an anti-inflammatory that also dries the heck out of the skin. So, if you’re using a stronger astringent, use an appropriate moisturizer (yes, yes, we’ll get there). Or, better yet, think “HYDRATING toner” instead—those with hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, or green tea are a great place to start.

Beautiful woman applying toner to help uneven skin tone


The queen of all queens. The king of all kings. The captain of all captains. (Captains are excellent gender-neutral leaders, after all.) There’s a reason it’s often said in threes: To moisturize, moisturize, moisturize is to cast a soothing spell on the skin, one that’s especially important after sun exposure; with the use of anti-aging products, cleansers, and toners; and if you use no other product beyond sunscreen. 

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Face Oils

Though oil is moisturizing, it’s important not to confuse moisturizer and face oil, which provide different nutrients and uses to the skin. A moisturizer is a must-have, but face oil is merely nice to have. If you’re already using or want to use a face oil to improve skin tone—think cannabis seed oil, green oregano oil, rosehip oil, or blackseed oil—it’s generally best to apply it at night as the last step to a skincare routine. After all, oil is a barrier and not water soluble, so you’ll want to apply oil after a moisturizer and then use that oil to help lock and seal in all that hydrating goodness. Keep in mind, oils are different than facial serums (we recommend layering serums underneath your moisturizer). If you’re not sure where to start, you might find your new fave in the Kinder Beauty Marketplace

At-Home Remedies that Help Fix Uneven Skin Tone 

If you can manage nothing else, manage these three lifestyle choices: Water, moisturizer, and sunscreen. These three can make the largest overall difference to skin health, including to help fix uneven skin tone. Ideally, we’re adding quality sleep to the mix, too, as this is when the body does the most repair work.

If you’re going to level up, cut the booze and (sob, sigh) caffeine. And of course, what you put into your body—foods rich in vitamin C, healthy fats, eating a wide variety of foods, including mostly plants—makes an impact as well.

And don’t forget the all-important time. Because dark spots have formed under layers of skin over time, removing them also takes time.

While all of the above products will help to lighten, lessen, or reverse the damage, staying out of the sun or changing bad habits will help keep it from getting worse, plus prevent additional areas from forming.

So, if the equation for skin tone is color + texture = tone, then the equation for how to fix uneven skin tone is products + self-care + patience = improvement.


Leah M. Charney (she/her) is sassy yet classy and is always seeking a beauty routine to match. She delights in both the science and aesthetics of the clean beauty movement.


Kinder Beauty

Hello Sunshine Vitamin C Serum

Dramatically brightens uneven skin tone, revives natural collagen production, helps protect your skin, and reduces inflammation and hyperpigmentation.
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Kinder Beauty

Be Kind, Rewind Bakuchiol Serum

Same age-defying benefits as retinol, but without the irritation! Smoothes fine lines and wrinkles while promoting cellular turnover and elastin production.
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Kinder Beauty

Dew-Gooder Hyaluronic Serum

Deeply hydrates your skin. Added niacinamide improves the appearance of uneven skin tone and texture, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
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Everything you need to jumpstart or elevate your skincare routine! Includes all three Made by Kinder Serums, a Kinder Beauty Embroidered Spa Headband, and carry pouch!
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